Why we need to elect Joe Biden to save our American democratic institutions
1. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. During his eight years as vice president to President Barack Obama, Joe Biden was at the forefront of fighting two international pandemics: H1N1 in 2009 and Ebola in 2014. The H1N1 virus claimed 14,000 lives in the United States and Ebola felled two. While Obama and Biden were making sure Ebola didn’t ravage our country, Donald Trump was tweeting that Obama should have been impeached for the two Ebola deaths. Today, Biden has a plan to: determine when and how an effective, safe vaccine will be distributed; provide Federal resources for more PPEs and other protections for essential workers; offer relief for small businesses, as one in six have closed nationwide; and aid the millions of unemployed struggling to pay their bills and survive this pandemic. Biden has been urging Americans to wear a mask in public to stay safe and always wears his. He has a sensible plan to reopen our schools and economies without devasting either and causing more deaths, so that we don’t slide backward this flu season. He understands that we need to address the coronavirus as the public health crisis that it is.
2. Healthcare for all Americans. Biden will work to protect the Affordable Care Act and improve and expand its coverages. When it was implemented in 2010, and through the rest of the Obama-Biden Administration, the number of uninsured Americans dropped nearly 40% from 44 million to 27 million. One way that Biden will make healthcare more affordable is by offering tax credits for middle class Americans to help them pay for their coverage. A family of four earning $110,000 annually, who get their insurance in the marketplace, will have their premiums capped at 8.5% of their income, saving some $750 per month in healthcare insurance under the Biden plan (which, by the way, is not “Medicare for All”). Would you rather see tax credits to help middle class Americans buy and keep their healthcare or more Federal tax cuts for millionaires, billionaires, and Fortune 500 companies?
3. Creating an economy that benefits all Americans. Through Biden’s “Build Back Better” plan, he will create millions of jobs by first getting the pandemic under control and creating a Public Health Jobs Corps that will help create healthier societies. The virus has killed more Black and Brown people than any other ethnic group, and this is directly correlated to a lack of healthcare, mental health, and social work services in poorer communities. Biden also will create jobs by mobilizing American manufacturers to bring good paying, union jobs back to the United States (something that Trump promised and has yet to deliver on as his claim of creating 700,000 manufacturing jobs is not true). The lack of a strong supply chain during the pandemic shows that America can no longer rely on and afford to have critical PPE and other products made overseas. Biden will focus on providing more jobs and an investment of $1 trillion to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure and create renewable and clean energy. He also wants to create a 21st century caregiving and education workforce to provide for our aging population and increase child care options and make them more affordable so that working mothers can both earn a living wage and find care for their young children. In Chicago alone, 42% of our families are made up of single parent, mother-only households. These women and children need a helping hand and the Biden plan will offer them just that. Biden will reverse the Trump corporate tax cuts that lowered their rates from 28% to 21%. This move not only benefitted Wall Street and the top 1%, but it also benefitted Donald Trump and his family through Trump Enterprises.
4. Racial and social injustice and inequality. Donald Trump likes to disparage Joe Biden for his 47 years in politics. Yet, Biden has a record of being on the right side of history when it comes to civil rights and advocating for social and economic justice in this country, which includes improving our educational system and creating fair and equitable housing. Kenosha, Wisconsin, erupted in riots in August after the shooting of Jacob Blake. The 29-year old Black man was shot seven times in the back by a Kenosha police officer as Blake entered his SUV, and was left paralyzed. Shortly afterwards, Joe Biden visited with Blake’s family, talked with Blake by phone at his hospital bed, and prayed with the Blake family at their local church. Biden decried the violence while also saying protestors had the right to peaceful assembly. Throughout this campaign, Biden has called for healing in America and an end to the divisiveness exacerbated during the Trump administration. He supports Black Lives Matter while not advocating for the defunding of the police. Biden supports police reform and bringing law enforcement officials, social justice experts, and community representatives together as soon as he is elected to begin a dialogue on how to address racial inequality and repair and strengthen police-community relations. Biden will increase educational funding for students in low-income communities and will offer at no charge two years of community college or a trade level experience for those needing financial assistance.
5. The rule of law. There were no scandals or indictments in the Obama administration. There were no arrests of Obama-Biden campaign managers, cabinet members, or staff members. People didn’t come in and out of the White House as if a revolving door had been installed. Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch served as the Obama administration’s attorneys general. They did not purport to be Obama’s personal attorney, allowing him and Biden to wreak havoc on the rule of law in this country. Biden’s respect for the rule of law might not make the nightly cable shows, but we will take a president in Biden who will not trample over our constitution for his own personal gain or political survival.
6. The place of the United States on the world stage. Joe Biden will restore America’s place on the world stage. It will take a lot of work to restore trust from our allies—many of whom have been with us since World Wars I and II. He has earned a strong international reputation and, once elected, will appoint knowledgeable cabinet members in the critical posts of secretary of state and secretary of defense. The Obama-Biden administration earned the respect of allies and others who once turned to the United States for leadership and morality. Under a Biden administration, we will not lose our seat at the United Nations or at NATO and will return to the Paris Climate Agreement. After four years of tumult and turmoil, Biden will bring a balance of power against the likes of Vladimir Putin in Russia, Xi Jinping in China, and Bashar al-Assad in Syria. It won’t be easy, but Biden has the integrity, the experience, and the moxie to return the United States to its rightful position in the world.
Why we need to defeat Donald Trump to preserve our democratic institutions
1. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Donald Trump ignored the warnings of numerous U.S. intelligence agencies that told him something terrible was occurring in Wuhan, China. We have him on record with journalist Bob Woodward that he knew about the virus in February. Other reports say he had information much earlier. Trump told Woodward he didn’t want to “panic” the American people. This coming from the same person who uses divisive language on a daily basis to instill fear and panic in Americans, and who saber-rattles with international adversaries, such as threatening a war with Iran. Trump failed us when we truly needed him: he was agonizingly slow to invoke the Defense Production Act to get U.S. manufacturers to make ventilators and PPE materials; used the virus as a political battleground with “blue state” governors; has assailed the Centers for Disease Control, the Food and Drug Administration, and leading research universities—often refuting science for his own far-fetched ideas and those from questionable medical experts. To play to his base and cover his tracks, he refers to the coronavirus as the “China virus,” but when he could have had U.S. health experts on the ground in Wuhan to figure out what was happening, he stood down. As of this writing, the United States has more than 208,000 deaths and more than 7.3 million cases—more than another country in the world. We cannot blame Trump for each of these lives lost, but by reacting slowly to rolling out nation-wide testing and contact tracing, experts say, an additional 40,000 to 50,000 Americans who need not have died have instead perished under his watch. Plainly speaking, Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have failed us in dealing with this pandemic. A new Cornell University report shows that President Trump is the leading driver (38%) of misinformation on the virus. Remember his serious suggestion (not “tongue in cheek” as he and his staffers continue to argue) to consider digesting bleach and injecting ultra-violet light as cures for the virus? This statement led to thousands of inaccurate reports and an increase in the number of people calling their state poison control centers. This is leadership at the highest level?
2. Healthcare for all Americans. In the four years of the Trump administration as the ACA has been chipped away at, 1.4 million Americans have lost their coverage. Twelve states (all but one “red states,” by the way), have refused to expand Medicaid coverage to their citizens, blocking an additional 4.9 million from receiving healthcare. The ACA protects 100 million Americans with pre-existing conditions. This month, the Trump administration is going before the U.S. Supreme Court to wipe this away and is rushing at warp speed, with the help of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), to appoint nominee Amy Coney Barrett to the court to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg to secure the votes he needs to destroy the ACA once and for all. Trump brags that he has lowered prescription drug costs for Americans, but there is no proof of this. The Republicans have had more than a decade to come up with a replacement for the ACA (“Obamacare”), and Trump keeps promising us his plan. Neither have delivered. Your healthcare and that of your families is at stake and at risk in this election.
3. Creating an economy that benefits all Americans. Trump inherited a robust economy from the Obama-Biden Administration, which had 75 consecutive months of economic growth. Trump was left with one of the strongest economies in American history, which he promptly gave away with his tax cuts for the rich. Even conservative Forbes magazine reported that the wealthiest people in America now are paying the lowest tax rate for the first time in American history. As Forbes also reported, the 2017 tax overhaul is serving “to line the pockets of the wealthy at the expense of the working class.” Government revenue is way down. Those cuts are deficit-financed, so we and our children will be stuck paying the bills. As a result, the economy tanked, which Trump supporters like to blame on those evil Democrats who shut down businesses to protect people against the coronavirus. Actually, that was too little, too late. If Trump had shut the country down for a couple of weeks in March, just like other countries shut down, the virus would be contained and the economy would be back to normal, as other countries’ economies are. Instead, he pretended the virus didn’t exist or that it was a hoax by the Democrats to derail his reelection. Today, states that never shut down are experiencing giant surges of coronavirus, with restaurants and other businesses shutting down again and exacerbating a recession that never needed to happen. Also exacerbating the recession is the Republican Senate’s refusal to agree to an economic stimulus bill long ago-passed by the Democratic House of Representatives, and Trump certainly is not asking them to pass it. America, therefore, is in its deepest recession since the 1930s, and Trump has done nothing except try to blame others. Although Trump likes to brag about being good for the economy, if defeated in the election he will leave office with the smallest job growth among modern day presidents.
4. Racial and social injustice and inequality. Donald Trump also visited Kenosha after the shooting of Jacob Blake and the riots that ensued. He never visited or called Blake or his family members. He didn’t visit the Blake family church. Trump did visit with law enforcement officials. He took the opportunity to once again gloat that he was “the law and order President” and made absurd charges that electing Joe Biden would endanger white voters living in suburbs across America. Trump wondered what the public outcry was all about after Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old from Antioch, was dropped off by his mother across the state line in Kenosha to patrol businesses neither he nor his family owned. Rittenhouse used a long-armed gun to kill two protesters and severely injure a third. Trump never offered a word of condolence to the families of the slain or maimed. Then again, he has history on his side. In 2017, at a Unite the Right rally made up of Ku Klux Klan members and other white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, James Alex Fields Jr. deliberately drove his car into a group of unarmed protestors, killing Heather Heyer and injuring 19 others. Trump’s response? The unthinkable statement of “fine people on both sides” and nary a word to this day of condolence to Heyer’s mother or the others injured. Speaking of unthinkable statements, during the September 29 debate, when given the opportunity to decry white supremacy and instead of disavowing groups such as the Proud Boys, Trump barked, “stand back and stand by.”
5. The rule of law. Donald Trump is a braggart. Here’s a Trump first he can hang his hat on—he is the first incumbent president to run for reelection after being impeached by the U.S. Congress. The only thing that saved him was a complicit Republican Senate, led by Mitch McConnell, which failed to call one witness in the impeachment trial. Not one. During the Republican National Convention’s closing night, Trump, his family, and his handlers laughed and scoffed when they were told using the White House (the “people’s house”) was a violation of the Federal Hatch Act. Traveling to and from the various Trump resorts such as Mar-a-Lago have been brazen violations of the emoluments clause of the constitution. Trump is not supposed to have a personal financial gain from his position as president, but he doesn’t care, when there is money to be made. Bill Barr as Trump’s Attorney General has made a mockery of the office and clears the way for Trump to act so brazenly. Trump regularly uses dog whistles and shows time and again he is a racist. There, we said it and we stand by it. Trump argues that Antifa is the problem with civil unrest in our country (by the way, Antifa is an anti-Fascist movement and a philosophy, not an organized group) when his own FBI Director Christopher Wray says the real problem is far right extremists and white supremacists. Every one of Trump’s campaign managers was indicted on fraud charges; numerous others have been charged and sent to prison. Barr is trying to intervene in former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn’s case to get him a shorter sentence. There is a double standard in this country—one for Trump’s miscreants and one for the rest of us.
6. The place of the United States on the world stage. Under the Trump Administration, the United States has fallen far from grace with its international partners. As Trump pulls away from our allies and complains that Putin and Russia should return to the Group of Eight; withdraws from the Paris Climate Accord and denies climate change; and shows ongoing admiration for the demagogues, thugs, and dictators leading countries such as Russia, Turkey, North Korea, Syria, and Saudi Arabia, our allies recoil. As our democracy cracks under the weight of this administration, our position internationally has suffered greatly. No longer do the leaders of Great Britain, France, and Germany turn to the United States for advice or vision. Instead, we are looked at forlornly as the country that used to be a beacon of light for all.
It comes down to this: Joe Biden is best choice to get America back on track
Basic human decency. This is what you will get if you have the fortitude to push past all of the mayhem that surrounds us in the middle of this pandemic and cast your vote in person or by mail in the presidential election. Of course, you will receive basic human decency only if you cast your ballot for Joe Biden. If you cast your ballot for Donald J. Trump, you will ensure four more years of despair, divisiveness, disillusion, and sadly, the very real risk of the dismantling of American democracy.
This is not hyperbole. It is not an exaggeration. It is what we see at Gazette Chicago after five years of having Donald Trump front and center in our lives, day after day, night after night, tweet after tweet, breaking news flash after breaking news flash. Yes, five years has been a long time to endure as this roller coaster ride began in earnest when Trump and his wife, Melania, sauntered down the escalator at Trump Tower in New York City to announce his candidacy.
Above, we made our case for the contrast between these two candidates. The choices couldn’t be clearer. The short list above is just part of the trauma that our country has experienced under the administration of Donald J. Trump. We didn’t have enough room to list all of his transgressions. We didn’t go into detail on the hardship that this administration has caused families at the border, where more than 4,000 infants, children, and teenagers have been separated from their parents with no real plan to reunite them. Thousands remain in cages. We didn’t list how Trump has created his own militia by securing ICE agents and others to be his goon squad that attacked peaceful protestors in Lafayette Park so he could have a photo op and hold a Holy Bible upside down on the steps of St. John’s Church, or send them to Democratic cities so he can show how tough he is on “leftist socialists.” We didn’t go into detail about Trump’s scorn for people who have served in our military, starting with the Khan family four years ago, his ridicule of Vietnam POW and late Senator, John McCain, and his recent incredible comments that those who served and sacrificed were “suckers and losers.” We didn’t touch on the scathing New York Times bombshell that showed Trump paid only $750 in Federal taxes in both 2016 and 2017 while teachers, nurses, police and firefighters, factory workers, waitresses, and so many others paid so much more.
If you have been paying attention, you know what has happened to this country and you know what is at stake. If you voted for Trump four years ago because you thought the Apprentice businessman might be good for the economy, you don’t get a mulligan this time. If you filed a protest vote four years ago and voted for Jill Stein and the Green Party like seven million other Americans did, it’s time to grow up. If you just stayed home and couldn’t get excited about voting for Hillary Clinton, know the stakes are much higher this time and do your civic duty. If you couldn’t vote for Clinton because you are as much as a misogynist as Trump, we have nothing to say to you—but hope your wife, your mother, or your daughter took you to the woodshed. If you will once again vote for Trump because you believe “Make America Great Again” is really the dog whistle for “Make America White Again,” well, we truly feel sorry for you.
For those of you who love this country and all of its people; those who want to see an end to the deaths and suffering due to the coronavirus; those who want someone who believes in science and that climate change is a world-wide threat to our very existence; those who do not want to see emboldened white supremacists leering over your shoulders when you exercise your right to vote or choose to assemble peacefully under the U.S. Constitution; those who don’t believe the United States Supreme Court is a means to an end for a president to get his way; you have only one clear choice. Only one of these two candidates has pledged to accept the results of this election as every other presidential candidate has in the past while the other has threatened the very core of our election process and has done all he can to smear the integrity of the 2020 election.
There are many more positive reasons to vote for Joe Biden for president. Basic common decency: Let’s start there and then we can begin to rebuild America.
Gazette Chicago strongly endorses Joseph R. Biden for President of the United States.
In our March issue, in the Democratic primary for state’s attorney, we endorsed Bill Conway over Kim Foxx. This was predominantly because of Foxx’s mishandling of the Jussie Smollett case, in which she dismissed the charges against the actor for faking a hate crime.
As much as Foxx’s opponents made of that issue, however, the voters showed it was not as important to them, as Foxx beat Conway by nearly eight percentage points to take the Democratic nomination.
On the Republican side, we endorsed Patrick “Pat” O’Brien, who was a much more mainstream, rational choice than his opponent.
Now it is time to examine more closely the records of both the incumbent and the challenger.
For this edition of Gazette Chicago, our reporter asked Foxx the tough questions, and Foxx handled them. As a matter of fact, when our editorial board asked our reporter to go back to Foxx to ask follow-up questions, she once again made herself available to us—something that is rare in today’s world where elected officials often avoid the media. Concerning the Smollett case, Foxx admitted she should have done a better job informing the public that state’s attorneys often drop low-level cases. Although the Smollett case was high profile, its impact was low level and Foxx decided to drop it, just as her predecessors in the office had dropped many cases over the decades. We disagree with her doing so, but we cannot disagree that she had the discretion to do so. The voters in March agreed.
In fact, not going after the little fish, such as people arrested for possession of small amounts of drugs and low level retail theft, in favor of going after the big fish, including people who commit felonies and endanger the public, and not caring about conviction numbers being more important than public safety, is an issue she campaigned on in 2016, and the voters approved.
Foxx also answered the tough questions about other dropped felony cases, noting she would rather err on the side of innocent until proven guilty if the cases lacked sufficient evidence. Her Conviction Integrity Unit has vacated more than 80 cases where the evidence did not warrant charges against defendants. Today, when we have a president bellowing at the top of his lungs about “law and order!” it would be easy to look warily at Foxx. However, Chicago has a history of sending individuals who did not commit a particular crime to prison and later paying hundreds of millions of dollars in restitution. Foxx refuted charges that she has gone too easy on looters that wreaked mayhem in Chicago this summer, noting that her office has moved forward to prosecute 90% of the cases. Foxx also addressed charges about allegedly mishandling electronic monitoring of offenders, noting that this task falls under the sheriff’s office’s jurisdiction, despite critics’ attempts to blame her for an area outside of her purview.
Foxx has deserved criticism, but some is definitely overblown by those with a political agenda.
O’Brien has some good stands on issues, such as promising to bring cases to trial more quickly so defendants spend less time in jail waiting to go to court. But we are bothered that his experience in the state’s attorney’s office comes from an era in which that office wrongly convicted many individuals who were innocent of the charges against them, 27 of which were directly under O’Brien’s jurisdiction. He also worked there in an era in which the office failed to take police misconduct seriously. O’Brien, in our view, has failed to repudiate the past wrongs of the office in his campaign.
Foxx has brought the office into the 21st century with alternate sentencing, mental health treatment, stronger penalties for gun violence, expunging records of those who had been convicted of marijuana possession, and putting records online.
She has been far from perfect. But she is trying new methods welcomed—actually, demanded—by the public, and admits her mistakes. If the citizens of Cook County give Foxx another four years, we ask that she build a firewall between herself, her office, and outside influencers to prevent future incidents like the Smollett case (and those that created problems for previous state’s attorneys); that she distance herself from her mentor, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle (whom she served as chief of staff); and that she build a stronger relationship with the Chicago Police Department so that officers and prosecutors work in tandem on rightful convictions and help stem the violence plaguing our communities. O’Brien, although experienced, earnest, and capable of doing the job, harkens back to an era to which we do not want to see the office return.
The choice is a tough one, but in the end we will choose the candidate who, despite some missteps, keeps her eye on the future as the public has demanded. Gazette Chicago endorses Kim Foxx for another term as Cook County state’s attorney.
Voters will cast ballots for members of Congress in the 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 7th Congressional districts.
In the 1st District, Democrat and incumbent Bobby Rush is a strong advocate of protecting the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and believes Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has been the most harmful person in that post the country has ever seen. He introduced the Green Collar Jobs Development Act to increase job opportunities for all Americans, especially underrepresented groups. He supports the $15 minimum wage and wants it increased to $17 or $18 per hour. Rush has been pressuring the Trump administration on its poor response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and favors the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) act.
Republican Philanise White is pro-school choice and anti-teachers’ unions, policies advocated by DeVos, and wants less government intervention in society. Instead of DACA, she supports a typical Republican border militarization strategy. Independent candidate Ruth Pellegrini is strong on women’s issues and education and touts “respect,” job creation to help coronavirus recovery, and legal immigration.
White offers the typical Republican policies that have created many of the ills that plague modern America. Pellegrini has some good ideas, and we hope she stays politically active, but she is inexperienced and cannot offer the district as much as Rush. Bobby Rush has been an effective, progressive leader in Congress for the 1st District for many years and deserves another term.
A new member of Congress will represent the 3rd District, as Marie Newman defeated incumbent Dan Lipinski in the Democratic primary.
Newman supports the ACA and would move to a Medicare for All system, which she believes would reduce medical costs. Newman believes it is critical to eliminate voter suppression tactics and overturn Citizens United, which allows corporations to pour unlimited money into political campaigns. Newman strongly disapproves of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s ongoing war on public education. She favors legislation that will cancel student loan debt up to $50,000 for individuals with outstanding loans and incomes lower than $100,000. She supports the minimum wage, with increases linked to variations of the cost of living. She is strong on climate change issues and would couple the fight to save the environment with modernizing transportation, infrastructure, and the economy. Newman favors immigrants’ rights and DACA.
Her opponent is Republican Mike Fricilone, a rare thoughtful Republican candidate. He wants to help the community recover economically from the coronavirus and would work in a bipartisan fashion for more medicine, PPE, and medical supplies. He supports DACA and is an environmentalist. He opposes the Federal government paying for college education and is a fan of President Trump’s tax cuts for the rich and voter ID.
Fricilone has some good ideas, but is a lone voice in a party that does not support those ideas and would pressure him to change. Newman is the better choice and offers a chance to have a true progressive finally represent the community. She and so many people in the district worked hard for years to defeat Republican-in-Democrat’s clothing Lipinski, and it would be a tragedy to turn over the district to a Republican after so much work and hope. Newman is what the families in this district need at this time—a strong voice for the middle class, and those seeking to get there.
We look forward to Marie Newman representing the 3rd District, and she earns our endorsement.
The 4th District race features incumbent Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, whose record is a progressive one. His priorities are affordable and comprehensive healthcare, immigration reform, labor and worker rights, affordable neighborhoods, the Green New Deal, Medicare for All, and protecting DACA recipients.
Opponent Jesus Solorio Jr. offers standard and short sighted Republican rhetoric, and he opposes teachers’ unions. He inexplicably believes that people with pre-existing health conditions do not have to worry about insurance coverage and that market-based supply-and-demand medical care can solve the nation’s healthcare problems. He dismisses climate change by saying the climate has been “changing since its inception” and believes private sector market-based incentives can solve this problem, too. His plan to “adopt an immigration plan based on societal merit” seems suspiciously like another GOP giveaway to the well-to-do.
Gazette Chicago endorses Jesus “Chuy” Garcia for another term and strongly disapproves of the platform for which Solorio and other right-wing Republicans keep pushing.
In the 7th District, Congressman Danny K. Davis has proven to be one of the most progressive members of the House of Representatives for decades. He is focusing on solutions to the coronavirus’s negative impact on public health, the economy, and business. Davis introduced legislation to give low-income individuals opportunities in health professions, and he supports the Green New Deal and immigration reform. His opponents are independent candidate Tracy Jennings and Republican Craig Cameron, who offers a nuanced view of gun control but would give tax breaks to companies rather than individuals. Jennings offers some good progressive and knowledgeable views, and we hope he will continue to be active in politics after this election, but at this point he is not prepared to take on the myriad challenges facing the district after four years of misguided and harmful policies from the Trump administration.
Danny K. Davis deserves another term representing the 7th District.
Conservative, pro-corporate, pro-millionaire, pro-CEO groups such as the Illinois Policy Institute and Illinois Chamber of Commerce are working overtime to try to scare voters into rejecting the Fair Tax amendment. Governor JB Pritzker and his backers have launched a counter campaign. A lot of money is being spent on a critical item on the November 3 ballot.
The anti-Fair Tax folks are trying to scare you with Mike Madigan (we saw how well that worked for Governor Bruce Rauner), saying that if the amendment passes that beleaguered House Speaker Madigan and the Illinois General Assembly will be able to raise taxes any time they want—even though the Illinois General Assembly has that power now, and always has.
They are trying to scare you by saying that Mr. and Mrs. Joe Average will see their taxes skyrocket—even though everyone making less than $250,000 per year will see their taxes go down, and that is 97% of the people in Illinois. Only the top 3% of earners will see their taxes raised. People making less than $250,000 will pay less than 5% in taxes. People making more than $1 million still will pay less than 8%. The Fair Tax would not exactly bankrupt those poor downtrodden millionaires and billionaires.
The shills for the rich also are trying to scare you by saying that, if the Fair Tax passes, people and businesses will leave Illinois for neighboring states. What they do not tell you is that taxes already are higher in every other state bordering the Land of Lincoln.
The Fair Tax, also known as a graduated or progressive income tax, would create various tax brackets in which those making less pay a smaller percentage, and those making more pay a larger percentage.
Is the Fair Tax some brand new socialist idea, as those corporate shills would like you to think? Actually, the first progressive income tax was enacted 2,000 years ago by the Roman Empire. The Federal government’s income tax is a graduated, progressive, tax and has been since 1913. Today, 32 other states have it; in those that do not, by most economic indicators, residents have a lower quality of life.
The Fair Tax would give most people—97% of us—a little more money to spend and help the economy.
Our current flat tax actually is the unfair one, as it is regressive, meaning it taxes poorer citizens more than richer ones. If the average worker and the millionaire are both paying 5% in taxes, those taxes cut significantly into the worker’s income and not into the millionaire’s. If the worker pays 4% under the Flat Tax and the millionaire pays 7%, suddenly the worker has more money that he or she had before to help pay his or her bills, while the millionaire will not even notice the difference.
In fact, the nonpartisan Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy says that Illinois’s current flat tax system actually subsidizes the rich at the expense of the poor. “Illinois has one of the most regressive taxes in the nation,” ITEP noted.
Our current tax system is Robin Hood in reverse. The Fair Tax is aptly named, as our current system could be called the Unfair Tax.
It is time for the millionaires, the billionaires, and the corporations to pay their fair share. It also is time for Illinois to live up to its pension obligations to its retired State employees. The corporate shills expect contracts to be enforced when contracts benefit business, but they continually urge the State to find a way to default on its contracts with retired teachers, law enforcement personnel, and other State employees concerning their pensions.
Taxes pay for the myriad services people expect: roads, schools, infrastructure, clean water, law enforcement, healthcare, police and fire, social services, and hundreds more. The Fair Tax would raise more money for the services we all demand of the state, reduce the tax burden on 97% of residents, and collect a little more money from people who can easily afford it. All at a time when a pandemic has decimated our State and local economies. Gazette Chicago strongly encourages a yes vote on the Fair Tax.
Candidates are the incumbent, Dick Durbin, Democrat; Mark Curran, Republican; David Black, Green; Danny Malouf, Libertarian; Willie Wilson, Independent; and Lowell Seida, Independent.
First elected in 1996, Durbin has obtained increased Federal funding to fight asthma, increase immunizations, and expand medical research; championed health insurance reform, consumer protection, gun control, and violence prevention; secured Federal funding for Illinois highway and transit improvements and O’Hare Airport expansion; and improved Veterans Administration healthcare. Opioid abuse ranks among his top issues, and he has come to our community to secure help from the University of Illinois Chicago to address it. Durbin gives Illinois representation on two of the Senate’s most important committees, appropriations and judiciary.
Curran is a former Lake County sheriff and an attorney. He offers typical Republican positions: he opposes the Green New Deal, sanctuary cities, and government involvement in healthcare and favors a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution and term limits for members of Congress.
Business leader and philanthropist Wilson is a former candidate for mayor of Chicago. He wants the Federal government to fund more job training programs, invest in business development, and provide funding to non-profits in poor communities. He favors government efforts to provide people with proper food and nutrition and Medicare for All. He believes the Federal government should enact policies that assure racial equity and social justice. His run for mayor was controversial because Wilson handed out money to people in South and West Side communities during the campaign. Wilson defended himself by saying he had long used his personal wealth to support people needing a helping hand.
Black is an attorney and former Green Party secretary, Malouf is a human resources manager, and Seida is a consultant.
Durbin has done an excellent job as a senator, and if the Democrats take the Senate back, he will be among that body’s most powerful members, which will benefit Illinois greatly. Gazette Chicago strongly endorses Dick Durbin for another Senate term.
Clerk of the Circuit Court
The incumbent Clerk of the Circuit Court is Dorothy Brown, who did not run again after Federal officers investigated alleged malfeasance in her office. The clerk is the official record keeper for Cook County.
The Democratic candidate is Iris Martinez, assistant majority leader in the State Senate. Republican Barbara Bellar is a physician and attorney. Libertarian Theresa S. Benjamin is a bankruptcy attorney.
Iris Martinez in the State Senate was a strong advocate for women’s and children’s health, daycare and after-school programs, and seniors, and she strengthened Illinois’s drunk driving law. If elected, she would update the office’s technology, initiate a transparent hiring process, and vigorously work on the office’s case backlog.
Bellar would tighten up Zoom legal proceedings that the clerk’s office is increasingly relying upon during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, provide assistance to litigants representing themselves, and eliminate patronage hires in the office.
We commend Bellar for being an old-fashioned good government Republican instead of an ideologue. The county could not go wrong with her or Martinez, but we’ll take Martinez because of her strong activist record. Iris Martinez has earned our endorsement.
Metropolitan Water Reclamation District commissioners (3)
The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District board of commissioners establishes policies and procedures concerning Cook County water and its safety. Voters will select three commissioners, and the Democratic and Green parties are fielding candidates.
Democrats are incumbents Cameron Davis, who formerly served as President Barack Obama’s expert on Great Lakes policy, and Kimberly Neely Du Buclet, chair of the legislation and stormwater committees; newcomer candidate Eira Corral Sepulveda former served as Hanover Park village clerk.
Green Party candidates are Troy Antonio Hernandez, environmentalist and four-year member of the Pilsen Academy Local School Council; Tammie Felicia Vinson, a special education teacher; and Rachel Wales, and environmental educator.
Cameron Davis and Kimberly Neely Du Buclet have done a good job, and Eira Corral Sepulveda had a strong environmental record in Hanover Park. The trio receive our endorsement.
The City Council has placed three advisory referenda on the ballot.
One asks if the City should act to ensure that all the City’s community areas have access to broadband internet. Local 12th Ward Alderman George Cardenas proposed this idea, as minority communities’ internet access lags behind that of more affluent areas. This issue has made headlines with so many Chicago students needing to learn remotely during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Voters also will decide whether the City, through the Department of Planning and Development’s creating a growth and sustainability plan, should focus on “resiliency, equity, and diversity.”
A third question asks if voters want State officials to restrict assault weapons sales and possession. Alderman Chris Taliaferro of the 29th Ward felt voters should speak on this one.
Good ideas all, and we recommend a yes vote on each.
No on two judges, yes on the rest
The ballot includes a list of judges up for retention. Vote yes on all judges up for retention except for two: Cook County Circuit Judges Mauricio Araujo and Jackie Portman-Brown, who are facing disciplinary proceedings and are barred from performing nearly all judicial functions for various infractions. Vote no on Araujo and Portman-Brown.
The rest of the judges warrant a yes vote, particularly Michael Toomin, whom the Cook County Democratic organization is trying to force out because he dared to cross State’s Attorney Kim Foxx by naming a special prosecutor to look into the Jussie Smollett case. Vote yes on Toomin and the other judges up for retention.